Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #23: ATCs

This week's topic is inspired by Briana, who recently initiated an Artist Trading Card swap at Romance Divas. What are Artist Trading Cards (ATCs)? Here are thirteen things you need to know about ATCs.

1. ATCs are 2.5 x 3.5 inches, the same as commercial trading cards, such as baseball cards and cards for trading card games.
2. ATCs are made to be traded, not sold.
3. ATCs are unique works or small limited editions of prints.
4. ATCs are usually made on a base of cardstock, though other mediums such as metal, stiffened fabric, plastic, clay, balsa wood, leather, embroidery canvas, acetate, and heavy watercolor paper can be used.
5. Any media can be used to create ATCs: textile arts, pencil, watercolor, acrylic, oil, collage, digital art, calligraphy, beadwork, rubber stamps, pen and ink, colored pencil, airbrush, markers, photography, paper piecing, Origami – basically anything artists use.
6. Anything can be used to embellish: ribbon, feathers, beads, charms, shrinky dinks, brads, silk or paper flowers, chipboard, etc.
7. ATCs can be planned out around a theme, or can be created haphazardly. You can build a card around a favorite quote, or to promote your latest book. You can build them around a holiday, or around nothing at all. The only limitation is your imagination.
8. Cards should be sturdy enough to survive mailing, and of reasonable thickness (meaning, not flimsy—you want your work to last).
9. Don’t think of ATCs as scaled down works of art, but consider the size of the card before you start designing. Be mindful that some techniques are better suited to larger projects.
10. The back of the card should include the artist’s name and contact info (email/web address), as well as a title if applicable.
11. In a swap, each person makes the same number of cards, which are then sent to the group host along with an SASE. The host collects each person’s cards, separates them out, then uses the SASEs to send each participating member a card from all other members.
12. ATCs do not have to be elaborate works of art. Sometimes less really is more.
13. You don't have to be an artist to make ATCs. They can be a wonderful way to stretch your creativity. If nothing else, they’re a great procrastination tool when you should be doing something else: writing, editing, cleaning…you get the picture.

For more information on the Romance Divas ATC swap, organized by Briana, click here.

If you are interested in joining a Splitcoaststampers swap, you can find one here.

You can find examples of ATCs by doing a simple web search. To browse the beautiful ATC gallery at SplitcoastStampers, click here.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Elle 2. Jennifer McK 3. Kris Yankee 4. Jennifer Shirk
5. Tempest 6. Gina Ardito 7. Ann Aguirre
8. Debbie Mumford 9. Savannah Chase 10. Ava Rose
11. Paige Tyler 12. Ember Case 13. Amelia June
14. Lia Morgan 15. Ciar Cullen 16. Robin 17. Jenna-1
18. Babe 19. Seeley

(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Babe King said...

I sooooooo don't need another procrastination device. :-)

Heather said...

But you'd be sooooooo good at these, Babe! lol ;)

Kris Yankee said...

Wow - had no idea how cool these things really are! Now, if only I could find some time to work on one....

Jennifer Shirk said...

Wow, I never heard of them before this.
Sounds neat!

Tempest Knight said...

Briana always comes up with the coolest ideas. *wg*

Gina Ardito said...

Cool. I'll have to check that out! Sounds like fun.

Jennifer McK said...

It sounds interesting!!! What a great way to discover new artists.

Elle Fredrix said...

Thanks. Another reason to spend more time playing around on

This is such a cool idea.

Ann Aguirre said...

Great ideas. I have no artistic talent whatsoever, unless you call concept art a talent (like dipping a cat in non-toxic paint and tossing it at a canvas). Not that I ever do such a thing to a poor cat.

No, really. I wouldn't.

Debbie Mumford said...

Wow. I had no idea. Good thing I'm not an artist ... I can't get involved with this!

Savannah Chase said...

Wow they sound cool.....

Ava Rose Johnson said...

They sound so cool. Will have to look into them more, maybe discover my artistic side:)

Paige Tyler said...

Great list!


My TT is at

Ember said...

Those are so creative!

Amelia June said...

I can't wait, it will be my first art card :D

Happy TT!

Anonymous said...

What a nifty neato idea!

m i c h e l l e said...

Thank you so much for the info and tips! I just joined my first ATC swap and I knew the size but that was it! Thanks!

Robin L. Rotham said...

I'm with Babe! :D But this sounds really neat.

Annalee Blysse said...

I was designing an ATC in my head at work today when I had a few moments. You post made me smile to see it!

Jenna Leigh said...

Love that idea! Now I have to make myself some postcards so I can trade too. I'm procrastinating about that.

Annalee Blysse said...

Hi again, you're welcome. I won't get to work on that stamp ATC weekened because I just got home from work and realize I left the stamp by my phone. I was staring at the stamp around 11:00 reminding myself to bring it but noon came and I was out of there like a shot. LOL.